Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dungeons and Dragons: The Druid Class


I have been eager to create my own D&D boardgame custom Heroes for some time now, in particular for the Druid, Necromancer and Mage/Wizard classes. I happened across GeckoTH's nifty set of D&D template repository files for doing just that and have the Druid class build completed. The Necromancer class is sourced directly off of boardgamegeek -  User Wuley -  has already done an awesome interpretation on this worthy character's stats and powers so I just decided to go ahead and use this.
(Please note that all the artwork and content for the Necromancer class are not my own and may not be used for any commercial interests.)

After an initial playing through and a few tweakings to the Druid, I found both Heroes a fantastic play, each with their own unique set of skills with exciting gameplay mechanics. I am currently busy working on a Mage/Wizard class but that is still a work in progress which I will post at a later stage. In the meantime, here's a look at the Druid class. A special thanks and acknowledgement to Tomasz Chistowski for allowing me to use his awesome artwork.

Note: For the Druid & Wolf figurines, I used the Drow wizard from The Legend of Drizzt and wolf monster mini from Castle Ravenloft but feel free to use any mini you see fit.

"I am Aldred, Druid of Dal Haleth. Our forests were thick with greenery and leaf and a place for resting and peace for friends, travellers and strangers. Then our vales were overrun by shadow and darkness as the magic of the Shimmer waned." - Aldred: The Gathering of the Wardens

Druid Character Card Side 1

Druid Character Card Side 2
Aldred's stats are fairly standard in terms of AC, HP, Speed and Surge and I wanted his character to have that well rounded approach and then balance it off with really powerful At-Wills & Daily Powers.
Nature's Healing: As for the Druid's unique ability, I needed healing and lots of it. Because of the potent At-Will Wolf Form, Aldred will be taking damage every time he transforms which makes the regenerative ability all the more needed. Note that the key word is 'regenerate' so you can only heal up to maximum HP and not exceed this (unlike our Necromancer which we will look at next). While it may seem counter-intuitive to forfeit a movement action to regain 2HP and then have to draw an encounter (since you probably would not have explored), my thought behind it was to create the idea that the Druid was 'resting' in this period. Also, you could still move and choose to rather forfeit an attack instead. So, it's kind of like Dazed but with the benefit of regaining HP.

At-Wills:
Druid At-Will: Wolf Form
Wolf Form:
Aldred's primary At-Will attack allows him to transform into a Wolf. The Wolf-form attack stats are taken directly from the Ravenloft's Wolf Monster card with a Bite attack against an adjacent monster dealing 2 Damage and a Pounce attack rendering a 1 Damage and slowed (the monster can then only move 2 squares until it's next activation). In addition, pounce allows the Druid in Wolf-form to 'jump' to a new tile without exerting any additional movement points. While the Wolf-form At-Will may at first seem a bit of an OP (over-powered) ability, it is balanced by the fact that the Druid has to lose 1 hit point in order to transform. I felt that this kept in line with the theme of the character as he is still low-level and I wanted the transition from Man to Wolf to be both powerful and painful at the same time.

Druid At-Will: Flaming Blade
Flaming Blade:
Nothing too spectacular as far as this At-Will goes. The +9 attack is an almost always direct hit against most monsters that get too close. Useful for any tight situations you may find yourself in!

Druid At-Will: Piercing Thorn
Piercing Thorn:
A ranged At-Will that allows for an attack on a monster 2 tiles away is particularly useful when paired with the Druid's innate Nature's Healing; it allows you to snipe out a monster in one turn so that you have enough time for regeneration in the next. Plus on a roll of 18 or higher you deal +1 Damage.

Daily Powers:

Druid Daily: Thorn Strike
Thorn Strike:
So this daily reduces the range of Piercing Thorn to 1 tile but instead deals out a ton of hurt, providing your rolls are good. And if not, a miss will still dish out 1 damage to all which should hack away at most of the annoying monsters.

Druid Daily: Spiked Growth
Spiked Growth:
Think Cleric's Blade Barriers but with 5 tokens and useful for  'clumping up' over an entrance or a narrow passage. It's all about placement with this Daily Power and you can practically guarantee damage to enemies moving through. The ability to move the tokens, again, ties in with the Druid theme in that the growth is 'alive' and after a monster absentmindedly and foolishly tramples through, it quickly reforms itself into this thorny impenetrable hedge.

Druid Daily: Spiked GrowthTokens

Druid Daily: Wolf Fangs
Wolf Fangs:
I wanted to do some more work with the Wolf-Form than just a regular At-Will which is where the idea of a rabid Wolf-Form came in. Again, there is some damage sustained due to the hasty transformation but the damage being dealt out to adjacent monsters make this a worthy addition to your Druid's power cards.

Utility Powers:
Druid Utility: Lizard & Lace

Lizard & Lace:

Okay, I admit - a Druid summoning dinosaurs doesn't quite fit the forest theme but I have no battle cats or lynx minis and until then, it's going to be these little drake critters from The Legend of Drizzt board game. With 8 movement points between both Lizard and Lace,you could easily move them both for a dual attack of up to 4 damage and then, provided they survived, use them again as attackers or blockers for the next onslaught. One thing to note is that you cannot use Lizard or Lace for exploration. If you were wondering about the naming of this card, it was actually my daughter's idea - she's a huge fan of Marvel's Runaways and the dinosaur in that series is named 'Old Lace'.

Druid Utility: Nature's Gifts
Nature's Gifts:
This is the one utility card that you would want to keep flipping back as it provides so much benefit to your party in the form of healing, condition elimination and movement.

Druid Utility: Charm Beast
Charm Beast:
This Utility Power is all about timing. If you're in a sticky situation and surrounded by all sorts of monsters, a Bear, Wolf or Spider suddenly becomes your new BFF and turns on it's fellow monsters. Then, after its sudden betrayal, it just stands one side looking confused and doesn't attack you!
Note: You might want to house rule the definition of a creature/beast. For our gaming it was anything that was an actual living animal (beast, bear, spiders, rat swarm, spider swarm, wolves & drakes)

Card Backs:



Dungeons and Dragons: The Necromancer Class

"All but one wizard remained - burned and scarred but driven mad by the deaths of his friends and family...he had grown dark and powerful, a Necromancer who turned their very forces against them. I had never seen such raw power - their hordes were destroyed and the orcs and wraiths fled in terror, lest they be crushed by the power of the Necromancer" - Eladrin: The Gathering of the Wardens

While pursuing resources for my Druid character, I happened across Wuley's build for a Necromancer which, ironically, was going to be the next class I planned on pursuing. The Undead Necromancer with his ability to summon minions was always the sort of character that I felt would fit in line with our D&D party and tied in nicely with our current Nimbar campaign.
There are a few abilities that I felt were a bit OP (overpowered) and we house-ruled to make them more accommodating. However, I have presented them here in their original form for your pleasure.
Let's have a peek:

(Please note that all the artwork and content for the Necromancer class are not my own and may not be used for any commercial interests. I have just included a listing of the cards. For the full artwork and card backs, head on over to boardgamegeek.com)

Necromancer Character Card Side 1
Okay, so Loth's stats are putrid. a low defence, low hit points, low surge and he is slower than a zombie after a buffet of brains but, just bear with me as Loth's Power Cards are exceptional.
Skeletal Minion: The Necromancer's speciality is of course in summoning an undead ally so that you can creep about and do your spooky business while your minion runs off to do all the hard work. Given, it does require you to first defeat a monster before you can summon a minion but this fits the necromancer theme quite nicely: Loth kills monster, Loth raises bones of monster to fight at his side, Loth thus mocks said monster in death, un-death and resurrection muuahahahahahaha!


So your summoned minion's a bit of a pansy at up-close combat and the +4 Attack to 1 Damage probably would not do more than clang a rusty sword against some armour but there are cards-a-coming that auto-amplifies the minion's attack and makes him a hardier contender in the dungeon dance-off.   The charging strike is a worthwhile attack for non-adjacent monsters and the fact that your minion also counts as a Hero will, for all intents and purposes, serve as a welcome decoy against initial attacks.

At-Wills:
Necromancer At-Will: Command Minion
Command Minion:
Right. So remember when we said the summoned minion had a pansy of an attack? Well, suck it because Command Minion is At-Will any self respecting Necromancer would not leave home without. Again, you are required to at least have a minion (or minions) in play but the +10 attack practically guarantees a 1 Damage on a monster and the best part is you can still use old rusty to clang afterwards with its +4 sword. Alternatively, the scope of this attack would allow your minion to move a tile, attack an adjacent monster and probably murder it and then move a tile again for +8 strike. Pretty neat for a pile of bones!

Necromancer At-Will: Soul Burst
Soul Burst: (OP)
This is the only At-Will that I find is waaaay OP for the class. The 2 tile ranged 'attack all' seems more inline with a Daily Power than an At-Will. Our house-ruled version thus states: Attack two Monsters up to two tiles away. I had a similar ranged attack with the Druid build but with a +7 attack and dealing 1 extra Damage on a roll of 18+.

Necromancer At-Will: Life Touch
Life Touch:
Loth's a bit of a wimp as far as his HP goes so any card that allows for life gain is a worthy addition to your starting At-Wills. In fact, it's a must-have. Very reminiscent of Artemis's Vampiric Dagger from The Legend of Drizzt but still keeping in with the Necromancer theme.

Daily Powers:
Necromancer Daily: Undead Horde
Undead Horde:
A daily power that augments the Necromancer's base summoning spell. This once comes at a bit of a cost in that 5 tiles needed to have been explored before your 'horde' may be summoned but is a worthy power that could have easily allow you up to 3 minions under your command (one with Loth's base ability). If you feel this is slightly OP then only allow the summoning of an additional minion (not 2) and see. For our campaigns, and because we tend to play longer custom adventures, Undead Horde was fine to use as is.

Necromancer Daily: Mass Life Steal
Mass Life Steal: (OP)
So while a ranged attack that attacks ALL monsters up to 2 tiles away with a whopping +10 attack yielding 2 Damage and a 1 Damage miss seems like a regular, albeit slightly biased Daily, like with Soul Burst this card was waaaaay waaaay overpowered.  Not only do you potentially wipe out all enemies but you gain HP over your max HP? Our house-ruled variant was thus: Attack each monster on a tile up to 2 tiles away. For each Monster you hit regain 1 HP up to your maximum HP. Attack: +7.


Necromancer Daily: Undead Explosion
Undead Explosion:
Now this Daily me likey. Lots. It's so cunning and so utterly devious that only a necromancer could concoct such a foul plan. So you have a minion in play and then send him off for one final suicide bomb blast against enemies. It's all about placement with this one so make sure your minion is adjacent to a big bad when you set him off. Infidels, I kill you!

Utility Powers:

Necromancer Utility: Personal Pet
Personal Pet:
Loth's signature ability and my favourite power of the lot. The minions you summon are all 1 HP weaklings but Personal Pet allows you to select your most impressive spawnling, amp him up to 3 HP, 14 AC and +1 Damage on a roll of 15 or more AND you can couple this with your Command Minion At-Will AND you can ramp him even further with a treasure item. If said item is an armour amplifier, your child of darkness goes from pile of bones to Ghost Rider glory and can deal out damage without too much fear. Of course, on being destroyed, you do lose 3 HP...so there is that small problem. Kinda like a horcrux in a way.

Necromancer Utility: Bone Armor
Bone Armor: (OP)
Meh. A 5HP rejuvenate over your max HP seems stupidly over powered, even for Loth's low stats. Our modified version of Bone Armor read: Destroy a Minion on your tile and gain 4 HP up to your Max HP.

Necromancer Utility: Soothe The Undead
Soothe The Undead:
Useful in that it can be played at any time. So activation of any wraiths and blazing skeletons in this turn can be mitigated and dealt with later for any player. Not only that but there is the added benefit of an Undead Villain also not activating this turn.

Necromancer Utility: Choice Pickings
Choice Pickings:
This card you play at the start of the game and it remains in play for the duration of the game and gives the necromancer a useful mechanism for scrying through treasure decks. The one down side is having to discard the returned treasure as other party members might have benefited from whatever it was you just trashed but, you are Loth and don't really care.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Ruin of Nimbar: The Gathering of the Wardens



Astifoorn. City of Stars and the blessed Vale. Here it was that the Eldar Mages crafted the Everlast, a powerful gem wrought of Starfire and held atop Altoth - the ancient tower in the heart of the city. For many years, the magic of the Everlast held the darkness of the Chaos realms at bay with a protective shield which the people of Nimbar called the Shimmer.

But the Shimmer is no more and the light of the Everlast is failing fast. Now the four Wardens of the Realm and their companions have gathered. For the fate of Nimbar hangs in the balance and the heroes seek to restore order lest their world fall into chaos and ruin.

Quinn, Warden of the North recounted then his ordeal with the sorcerer Klak in Nerath:

"As much as he sought to break my mind in the hope of finding the location of the Everlast, the sorcerer's wizardry showed me also a glimpse of his purpose. Whichever evil master he so greedily serves has already discerned that the gem is at its end. But in my torment I saw a vision that the Everlast could be remade. The Starfire from which it was forged still burns deep beneath the mountains of Firestorm Peak. The enemy knows this and they have beset the mountain with legions of orcs and monsters and with their best captains at its guard. They cannot bear the Starfire nor suffer its touch for its powers are elemental and ancient and it burns them but to look towards it. However, they have laid siege to it and will let none pass beneath for they have a fear...and it is that fear that gives us hope: If the Starfire were brought back to Astifoorn, the Everlast could be reforged!
For now we have an advantage, for the enemy knows not that the resting place of the gem is here and we arrived all here in secrecy and it is here and in few places yet that the Shimmer still holds...for now."


"Alas! The Shimmer holds not in the Underdark. Menzoberranzan has fallen, the Drow are all dead or driven mad and a Primordial was awakened deep inside the caverns."
Thus spoke the Dark Elf, Drizzt Do' Urden, Warden of the West, and he gave an account of what befell his party on their journey to Astifoorn:
"Much was lost and more in ruin but the victory was ours. For ere the Balor fell and we escaped through the river, we happened across one who may have a bigger telling in this tale than I. For the Druid we found by the river should now speak at this council."

"I am Aldred, Druid of Dal Haleth. Our forests were thick with greenery and leaf and a place for resting and peace for friends, travellers and strangers. Then our vales were overrun by shadow and darkness as the magic of the Shimmer waned. My people stayed to their havens and ventured seldom out, for rumour came of fell beasts and dark things that blackened the green earth. Then came the vanishings: first those woodland creatures whom we held under our protection - birds and deer and rabbits...we found mutilated and hung to tree. We retreated to the innermost part of the forests and our people used our crafts of concealment to lay hid. But some of us were not as lucky. My...my Father was taken and I, foolishly, went in search of him. I found him... eventually...or what was left of him..."


The Druid's tone turned then to bitter resentment:

"In a vengeful rage and stupor I summoned a forest spirit and together we flew at his attackers but we were overwhelmed. The spirit was destroyed and I was taken...for the enemy saw fit to corrupt me with their dark magics, seeing that a Druid under their power would prove useful. I...I saw what they did to the Drow...and it almost drove me to madness. They held me, with great abuse and torment, ever prying, ever probing...trying to drive my mind beyond the borders of sanity. It took all strength of will to stay the madness but my knowledge of roots and herbs spared me. For the Underdark is thick with growth and mosses and I used this secretly and to dull my agony. As such I began noting that the legions of Goblins and Orcs were mustering...as if in preparation for a great war. One evening as I was being tortured I overheard telling of an attack on Astifoorn and the coming of an ancient chaos lord by the name 'Zaldramas'. This name is spoken with much fear...even the Balor seemed to cower in the mere mention of it. Then, just as the last of my hopes and health began to fade, Drizzt and his party attacked, I chanced my escape and made for the river...even as dark arrows rained down upon me as I swam to daylight...
This is my tale and of my place in all of it I know only that I cannot return to Dal Haleth. To to do so would risk breaking the concealment spell and exposing my people to even greater danger. I thus offer my services as a Druid unto you, good Wardens, that they may be of use, even if my part is small."

Then did Bruenor, last scion of the Dwarven Kingsline raise forth his hammer in salute:

"Bruenor Battlehammer, last of my clan and Warden of the East. Druid, your deeds in this is already counted amongst the Mighty and I would have your valiance at my side. But the Shimmer in the East fades too and hard times have befallen the lands of H' Garth. With tumult indeed was our journey met 'ere we came over the river, to Dal Astari. But, if it is as you say, then an even greater tumult awaits the City of Stars with the coming of a lord of chaos...this...Zaldramas."

A silence befell the Company then. And it seemed as if a twilight was setting upon the blessed Vale.

Then Drizzt spoke:

"It appears we are now assaulted on all fronts. What of the South? Eladrin of the Elves - what can be said of your journey?"

Eladrin, the Elvish Wizard and Warden of the South offered a haunting tale:

"Heeding the summons of Quinn, our party of five set off from Khymer but were pursued by goblins, orcs and wraiths all the way to the Ranarth. There we managed to evade our pursuers and sought the secret pass over the mountains. That was when we saw them. Just west of the pass: hordes of skeletons and zombies, fey creatures that had been summoned from darkness for darker purposes and again the name being whispered: Zaldramas! The Enemy held summoners captive, wizards who would have had no part in all of this but were forced to summon creatures against their will, lest their families and loved ones be slaughtered before their eyes. We stayed hidden then, planning a rescue for those poor captive souls but even as dawn broke the next morning we found them butchered by their tainted wraith masters.
All but one wizard remained - burned and scarred but driven mad by the deaths of his friends and family...he had grown dark and powerful, a Necromancer who turned their very forces against them. I had never seen such raw power - their hordes were destroyed and the orcs and wraiths fled in terror, lest they be crushed by the power of the Necromancer. Yet, even as he bested them, he fell...his power spent...and like you, Druid Aldred, we brought him here to the blessed Vale, wherein he may find solace. He rests now, in the Houses of Healing and has sworn his allegiance to us in the war to come."


In the blessed Vale, a nightingale sang as the company sat and considered. Again, Quinn spoke:

"Dark indeed are the days that drives men to madness and darker still... to necromancy. The fate of Nimbar now rests in the balance. This is the prophecy come to pass at last and our choices as Wardens now split according to our tasks: Astifoorn must be protected at all costs. As long as the Tower of Altoth stands, the Everlast can be reforged. But even the Vale cannot withstand an attack on all fronts and the city will soon be besieged. We will defend our borders to the East and South. Our allies amongst the Elves of the Havens will stand with us and armies from Hala and Ren will come... But, we will need aid...Bruenor, from the Dwarves of the Iron Mountains. There is none better equipped to deal with siege warfare than your people and we will have need of helm and hammer before the end."

"I shall go Comoth and pledge every axe, hammer and shield in defending the blessed Vale" spoke Bruenor Battlehammer valiantly.

Then Quinn spoke again and this time, his voice was remorseful:

"In years past, the Mages were the guardians of the all realms of Nimbar and Faerun but they have passed now beyond veil and shadow and all that lingers of them is but myth and legend."

And then, turning to Eladrin, he added: "All but One..."

And then Eladrin, Prince of the Elves and Warden of the South, spoke and his tone was one of deep memory:

"Yes, North Warden, there is one as you say, who may yet reclaim the title of magedom but he has turned from that path and chosen for himself a life of isolation. A recluse and a hermit who has rebuked all claims of power and has taken refuge in the hidden caves and paths of the Ranarth and is seldom seen or heard of these days."

A sadness seemed to overcome him. He sighed softly and continued:


"In the aftermath of the war against Tiamat the Mages sought a means whereby they could prevent any more chaos and evil from entering the world so they took, each for themselves, an apprentice. These apprentices they selected from amongst the nine races and instructed them in the ways of the Word and the Will. Soon they were well versed in mage-lore and their repute was known far and wide throughout the realm. They were the scions of the mages - the 'Magi Scyns' amongst the Elves or 'Magicians' in the common tongue. Then did the Mages create the Everlast and the Shimmer and  entrusted the protection of Nimbar to the Magicians and withdrew themselves from the world, never to be seen or heard from again. For a long time there was peace and the Magicians upheld order and maintained balance. But over time the powers entrusted to them led them to ignorance. They became arrogant and dark thoughts began festering in their minds and instead of guidance they sought dominance, instead of peace they sought power and and so the seeds of their own corruption was sown.
Of the nine, six there were whos malevolent thoughts led them down the path to greed until their hearts and souls were irreversibly corrupted. They no longer called associated themselves with the Mages of old and took a new name: 'Arkhornasts' - The Arcanists. Together they wrought terrible deeds upon the realm, operating always in secrecy and causing great wars and upheavals. Three there were that stood in defiance of their fellows and were steadfast and true to the old ways and were pure of heart. They sought the help of all the races in defeating the Arcanists. A last alliance of the nine races was formed and marched together against the stronghold of the Six in Khymer."

"Bless my beard! But surely you speak of the Battle of the Silver Rivers! The Dwarves of the Iron Mountains were present there and fought alongside the Blessed Three against the Six!" exclaimed Bruenor with great mirth.

"Yes, " continued Eladrin quietly, "The last Great War. Many were the deeds of valour and tales of legend woven in that war and in the end, victory was ours. The Six were overthrown but at too great a cost. There were slain many a Dwarf, Elf and Human and two of the Blessed Three also were slain. Only one remained and it was he, who at the very end, bested Blaughir and  Khythri at the Silver River. Some there were who recorded seeing the likeness of the Mages of Old fighting alongside him, the last of the great scions. The Six were destroyed and the shadow of their corruption driven from our lands for good. But the remaining Magician went into exile and now wanders the Ranarth in shadow and secrecy."

"So...this hermit of the mountains is indeed the last Magician?" asked Tarak Half-Orc incredulously, "But that would make him nigh to 900 years of age!"

"947 years to be exact," said Eladrin ruefully, "And young still by our Elvish lore. Yes,Tarak, he was of Elven ancestry. Eldarion was his name, the first born prince of King Halithir, the one true scion and...my brother."

Eladrin's voice was remorseful and filled with grief: "He renounced all ties to his former talents and teachings, fearing lest his heart be corrupted as his fellow Magicians before him. He will not wilfully aid us."


"Nonetheless, wilfully or not, we must seek his aid, " said Quinn firmly, "For should the Shimmer fall there would not be a nook or cranny in any mountain where evil would not reach and even a scion of the Mages could not hope to defeat a Lord of Chaos. No, Eladrin, we must reach out to Eldarion...you must try...for a I sense that a greater work is in play here now that Druids and even Necromancers gather with us in council in the Blessed Vale. But even our combined strengths and might cannot stay the dark tide.
Astifoorn has its own spells and protection should the Everlast cease this very night but it will not hold forever.
What I ask of next is no easy task. It may even be akin to a greater sacrifice on any of our parts - I go thus to infiltrate Firestorm Peak and bring back here a vial of the starfire that burns yet deep beneath that cursed mountain. The Peak is swarming with Orc and Beast and Monster and whoever pledges to join me in this quest should have knowledge of secret paths and skills in espionage and shadows..."

Then, from the shadows came a rasping voice. All turned, for a hooded figure emerged then. The Necromancer it seemed, had slipped from the Houses of Healing and silently joined the council: "I know those paths better than any before me... I, who have taken this form of a Necromancer and go now by the name of Loth, shall join your company. This is not a request, I seek not your permission nor your blessings. A lifetime ago, before the darkness, before Tiamet, Ashardalon and Zaldramas, the Starfire that flowed beneath was protected by the Wizards of the Sacred Flame...my kin. I go now to reclaim that fire and avenge the deaths of my people and...my family."

Aldred, the Druid of Dal Haleth spoke thus: "I too shall join you in this quest. You shall have my allegiance and my skill of bark and leaf and tree."
And, finally, the Dragonborn Wizard Heskan spoke: "I wass with Quinn in Nerak. I shall fight alongsside him again in his quest to Firesstorm Peak"

"So it is decided," spoke Quinn, "Heskan, Aldred, Loth and I shall seek out the Starfire from beneath Firestorm Peak."
"And the Companions of the Hall shall join Bruenor in his quest to ally the Dwarves," spoke Drizzt Do' Urden.
"And I, Eladrin, the Warden of the South shall ensure that the Ranarth is secure. And..." and he hesitated for a moment before continuing: "And I shall seek out Eladrion and request his help thought I fear the outcome may not be to our betterment."
"And I shall see to it that the lands that lay East of the City of Stars are fortified" spoke Tarak Half-Orc and Warden of the East, "There are ancient battlements upon the foot of Ren. And my soldiers and armies are at the ready. We will hold the darkness at bay for as long as we can"

And thus were the 4 Wardens divided in their tasks: To reclaim the Starfire for the reforging of the Everlast, to seek the service and skill of the Dwarves of the Iron Mountains, to seek the aid of the last scion of the Mages and to secure the Eastern paths and fortify the battlements of Ren.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Ruin of Nimbar Adventure 2: Riddles in the Underdark


After escaping the torture of Klak in Dungeons of Kerath, the human cleric, Quinn, Warden of the North summons the remaining Wardens to a secret gathering in the Star City of Astifoorn, the Crown of Nerath and the home of the Everlast. The magic of the Everlast has began to wane and the protection of the Shimmer grown weak. Evil has entered the lands and the road to Nerath's Star City is wrought with peril and danger!

Heeding the summons, the dark elf Drizzt Do' Urden, Warden of the West takes the journey beneath the mountains, hoping that his knowledge of the caverns beneath will lead him to Astifoorn sooner.

But the Drow of legend and his companions may be walking into a trap. For the land of the Underdark has grown more treacherous. An ancient Evil has awoken deep within the mountains and in Menzoberranzan, more than spiders lay in wait.


When You Start the Adventure, Read:


Deep beneath the surface, in the labyrinth of caves and caverns of the Underdark, Drizzt and his companions set out to seek a quicker passage to Astifoorn, the City of Stars. But some evil is afoot in these mountains and the power of the Shimmer has faltered. As the companions journey onward, thunderous vibrations cause a series of rockfalls and cave-ins and through the crevices hordes of monsters have come spewing forth!

Quick! You must make for the Dwindlehelm Door which leads to an underground canyon  stretching to Menzoberranzan and shielded by the ancient Drow magic.

Goal: Guide Drizzt and his companions safely out of the Underdark or be trapped in the caverns forever!


Number of Heroes: 1-4 Heroes

Suggested Heroes: Drizzt (LOD), Artemis (LOD), Jarlaxle (LOD), Thorgrim (CR)
Healing Surges: 3

Adventure Setup

Cavern Tiles and cavern Edge Tiles from the Legend of Drizzt, Broken Door Tile, Underground River Tile, Horrid Chamber entrance Tile and Horrid Chamber Tiles from Wrath of Ashardalon.

Special Components in this Adventure:

Drizzt D' Urden Dark Elf Ranger figurine, character card and power cards.
Artemis Entreri Assassin figurine, character card and power cards.
Jarlaxle Baenre Swashbucker figurine, character card and power cards.
Thorgrim Dwarf Cleric figurine, character card and power cards.
Encounter cards from Legend of Drizzt
Monster cards from ALL the adventures (If you like a challenge!)
Balor Errtu Villain card & figurine

Setup:

Shuffle the cavern tile stack. Remove 3 random tiles and shuffle in the Broken Door tile. Then, without looking at any of the tiles, put the shuffled 4 tiles into the stack after the 8th tile. In this way the Broken Door will appear between the 9th and 12th tile. Now remove 3 tiles from the bottom of the cavern tile stack and shuffle in the Horrid Chamber Entrance Tile. Again, without looking at any of the tiles, put the shuffled 4 tiles into the stack after the 20th tile. In this way the Broken Door will appear between the 21st and 25th tile. Place the Underground River Tile after the 25th tile. The stack is now ready.

Tactics:

Until the Broken Door tile is revealed, whenever an encounter card would be drawn, instead of drawing an encounter, place a cavern edge tile on any unexplored edge of the dungeon.
After the Broken Door is revealed, draw encounter cards as per normal. Once the Horrid Chamber Entrance Tile is revealed, build the chamber as per Ashardalon's rule set and have player's draw monster cards until each chamber tile is filled. Place the Errtu villain figure on the innermost tile of the chamber. Errtu activates at the start of each hero's villain phase. Once built, heroes inside the chamber do not draw encounter cards.

Victory: The Heroes win this adventure by escaping the caverns, reaching the broken door and defeating the Balor Errtu in the hidden chamber. Heroes may only 'escape' by ending their hero phase on the underground river tile. Read the text "When you are Escape the Caverns" below.


Defeat: The heroes fail if any one hero is killed and no more healing surges remain or if they become trapped in the underground caverns before the broken door is revealed.



When You Reveal The Broken Door, read:

The Dwindlehelm Door is shattered. Darkness paves the way to the City of Spiders. Artemis gives a grim but sly smile: "Well, at least the roof's no longer falling on our heads!"
"There is evil awakened here," says Drizzt, "But there is no going back now. Our only way out of these wretched caverns is the undergound river which lies on the outskirts of my birth city"
The party journeys onwards...

When You Reveal The Horrid Chamber Entrace, read:

The City of Menzoberranzan is in ruin, wreathed in flame and blood. Horror-stricken, Drizzt and his companions are overwhelmed at the number of drow that lay dead and mutilated. The few Drow that remain have been driven mad with blood lust, feasting off the flesh of the hapless dead. And, in the very heart of the city, the Balor Errtu stands poised and waiting, 'D' Urden!!' comes the booming voice, 'My Doom is upon you! Today you shall perish in flame and fire! There will be no passage for your and your friends - You shall NOT PASS!!!'
Drawing their swords and weapons, Drizzt's companions step boldly forward. "Right," says the Drow of Legend calmly, "Let's get this over with..."

When You Escape The Caverns, read:

The river ebbs towards an outermost chamber. Finally, daylight! As the heroes emerge they swim hastily towards the outermost banks and away from the torment of the mountains. On the side of the river you notice a figure laying. "By Strohm's beard, it's a Druid!" exclaims Thorgrim. The Druid is alive but barely breathing. "What torment did this poor soul endure in those caves!" With his healing powers, Thorgrim manages to revive the Elvish Druid who blinks and sits up rather hastily. "Easy, friend," Drizzt cautions, "You need rest for your wounds." But the Druid merely grasps at the Drow's arm and pulling him close whispers in a broken voice: "Astifoorn...Wardens...must warn...end of days...He is coming. Zaldramas is coming!"
Did you order pineapple on your pizza?

Gandalf? Never heard 'a him. 

For the Elf Druid we used a Drow Wizard mini

Strategy over snacks. Cos that's how we roll...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Ruin of Nimbar: A Dungeons & Dragons Board Game Custom Campaign



"And ever fair the vale of Nimbar, woodlands deep and glades wide, rivers sparkling in the Spring with a music soft and peaceful like unto an awakening, a sweet embrace from a warm sun slumbering deep and restful"
- Thysius, Bard of Dornaeth

Having previously built a custom adventure for Castle Ravenloft and, after playing through both Drizzt and Ashardalon, I decided to try my hand at creating a custom campaign with a story line tying all three games together.  There are 10 separate adventures in the 'Ruin of Nimbar' campaign which will utilise many of the mechanics from all of the individual games and (hopefully) create a more 'grandiose' sense of epicness and battle to the game.

While I am still busy ironing out a few plot points, the first 2 adventures are ready to play and I will be presenting a new custom Adventure every month (or two depending) and perhaps even a play-through video. I wanted a campaign that created that feeling of an epic adventure within a larger storyline. Each of the adventures are thus longer that the average D&D boardgame adventures and make use of many of the components across all three games.

The basic idea is to allow for 'choice-driven gameplay' that has become synonymous with popular 'choose your own adventure' and also legacy-style board games. So, at the end of the 3rd adventure, there is a 'Path to Nimbar' card which you must complete which will drive the outcome of subsequent adventures. For example, in Adventure 1: The Dungeons of Kerath, you can choose to have the Rogue, Kat, join the party after rescuing the wizard Heskan or you can 'Leave her fate to chance' and roll a D20. Whichever choice you make will not affect the outcome of the Adventure (you still win or lose according to the Objective) but your choices will have an impact on the adventures to follow and, again hopefully, tell an engaging story.


Also, for the first adventure below, I wanted a solo playthrough that allowed for multiple characters. So, while it starts off with a lone Rogue looting through an 'abandoned' dungeon, you start to unlock more heroes as the story progresses. You could opt for multiplayer co-op at this point but I really wanted a strong solo experience with multiple heroes. So, after rescuing Heskan, if you choose to keep Kat in your party, you could be playing up to 4 Heroes 'double-handed'. If this bothers you stop playing or find some friends. Else..explore on young Adventurer!

"Many legends ago a prophecy foretold of the coming of a great cataclysm unto the land of Nimbar and of a darkness from the North that would besiege the peaceful vale and lay ruin to its cities and towns. As such the Mages of the Everlast set upon the valley a protective shield, impenetrable and unseen, keeping the darkness at bay and fending off all manner of fell beast and dark creatures from their lands. They called this the Shimmer. The Mages then elected men and women from amongst the bravest of Nimbar and set upon them the task of Wardens, ever watchful of the foreboding shadow from the North. For 37 years the Wardens held to their stations and the vale, protected by the magics of the mages, knew only peace and contentment. But now, beyond the furthest mountains a great evil stirs and the everlasting Shimmer has begun to fade..."

Adventure 1
The Dungeons of Nerath



When You Start the Adventure, Read:
Quinn, the human cleric and Warden of the North has gone missing. He was last seen in the Dragon-born city of Khalyash, along with his travelling companions Heskan and Arjan before venturing out to investigate a rumour of some darkness stirring within the abandoned Dungeons of Nerath. Meanwhile, the cunning Rogue, Kat, stumbles across the dungeons in the hope of acquiring some lost treasures...

Goal 1: (As Kat, the human rogue): Explore the dungeon, reach the locked vault and rescue Heskan.
Goal 2: (As Heskan, the dragon-born wizard): Find and rescue Arjan and Quinn.
Goal 3: (As Arjan and Quinn) Defeat Klak, the Kobold Sorceror before he manages to escape the dungeon!

Number of Heroes: 1-4 Heroes (solo experience)
Healing Surges: 4

Remove these 'vampirish' encounters
Adventure Setup
Dungeon Tiles: 17 non-named tiles from Castle Ravenloft, 5 additional random tiles from Castle Ravenloft, Secret Stairway Tile, Arcane Circle and Workshop Dungeon Tiles, Vault tile from Wrath of Ashardalon.

Special Components in this Adventure:
  • Heskan Dragon-born Wizard figurine, character card and power cards.
  • Arjan Dragon-born Fighter figurine, character card and power cards.
  • Quinn Human Cleric figurine, character card and power cards.
  • Encounter cards from Ravenloft (remove all cards pertaining to vampires/ Strahd - see image below)
  • Monster cards from ALL the adventures (If you like a challenge!)
  • 15 Randomly selected monster tokens (including the 'No Monster' tokens)
  • Closed door tokens
  • Secret Stairway, Vault, Workshop and Arcane Circle dungeon tiles
  • 17 random, non-named dungeon tiles (use Ravenloft and/or Ashardalon)
  • 5 random dungeon tiles (use Ravenloft and/or Ashardalon)
  • Kobold Sorceror Villain figure, token and card
  • Howling Hag Villain figure, 5 tokens and card
  • Rage Drake Villain figure, token and card
  • Dimensional Shackles token and Treasure card
  • 8 time tokens, lever token.
Setup:
Place a Start Tile on the table. Place Kat on any square of the Start Tile. Select 3 tiles from the bottom of 17 tile dungeon stack and shuffle the Arcane Circle tile into these tiles. Then, without looking at any of the tiles, put the shuffled 4 tiles into the stack back at the bottom of the stack. In this way, the Arcane Circle will appear between the 14th and 18th tile. Now select the top 3 tiles from the stack and shuffle in the Workshop tile into these tiles. Put the shuffled 4 tiles into the stack after the 7th tile. In this way the Workshop will appear between the 8th and 12th tile. Now, again, select the top 3 tiles from the stack and shuffle in the Vault tile. Place the shuffled 4 tiles into the stack after the 3rd tile. In this way the Vault will appear between the 4th and 8th tile. The stack is now ready.

This adventure uses a pre-built dungeon complex. To create it, follow the instructions for pre-built dungeons below.

The Vault and Workshop tiles as I set them up
Special Adventure Rules:
Vault Tile: When setting up the pre-built dungeon complex and the Vault tile is added, place a door marker over the entrance and place the Heskan figurine inside the vault, along with the dimensional shackles token.
Workshop Tile: When setting up the pre-built dungeon complex and the Workshop tile is added, place door markers over the each unexplored edge of the Workshop tile and place the Quinn figurine inside the Workshop, along with the Kobold Sorceror Villain token (see photo alongside). Place the time tokens on/ around each door token. For the purpose of this adventure, these doors remain 'locked' and cannot be unlocked by any abilities apart from the lever.
Arcane Circle Tile: When setting up the pre-built dungeon complex and the Arcane Circle tile is added, place the Rage Drake token and the lever token inside the Arcane Circle. Then, place the Arjan figurine on any tile adjacent to any unexplored edge of the Arcane Circle.
Monster Tokens: Shuffle all tokens including the 5 Howling Hag tokens and place a monster token face down on each unexplored tile except for the start tile, Vault tile, Workshop and Arcane Circle. When exploring a new tile, the monster token is flipped up and the number of indicated monsters are placed on that tile. In the case of 'no monsters', no monsters are placed.
The Arcane Circle setup
Encounters: When exploring a tile with a black arrow, an encounter card is drawn as per normal. Ignore and discard any encounter card that involves drawing and adding a dungeon tile and, instead, draw a new card. Encounters are drawn whenever a hero does not 'explore' a tile (by flipping over a monster token) or a hero did not perform an attack that turn.
Howling Hag: When the Howling Hag token is flipped up, replace the token with her figurine and follow the tactics as per her card but ignore the teleportation step. The Hag may only teleport when another Hag token is revealed. In this case, she immediately teleports to the new location. If the Hag is defeated all other Hag tokens you encounter afterwards counts as 1 Monster instead. The Hag's curse attack does not teleport a hero. Instead, follow the same rules as for her howl.

Tactics:
After every 4th Hero phase (use a D4 or counters to keep track), flip over a time token on the vault. If all of the time tokens are exhausted, you are defeated and have lost the Adventure.

Victory: The Heroes win this adventure by 'unlocking; the Workshop, rescuing Quinn in time and defeating the Kobold Sorceror before Klak is able to escape the dungeon.

Defeat: If the heroes fail to rescue Quinn in time, Klak's torturous devices proves too powerful and the Cleric is driven insane, forever haunting the labyrinthine dungeons! The heroes also lose the game if Klak manages to escape the dungeon by landing on the Secret Stairway tile or if any one hero is killed and no more healing surges remain.

An example of pre-built map for this Adventure
When You Unlock The Vault, Read:
Certain that behind this door lay treasure and loot, Kat is startled to see a reptilian humanoid inside the Vault. "I am Heskan, a Wizard amongst the Dragon born and I have been hiding in here after being separated from my companions. There is some infernal evil in play inside these dungeons and I would be glad of your assistance in locating and rescuing my friends. Quinn, the Cleric and Warden of the North was taken captive by Klak, a Sorceror skilled in the arcane arts. He plans on breaking Quinn's mind in the hope of locating an ancient gem that is said to be tied to the Shimmer. We must not let him succeed! If he does, I fear a greater doom will befall these lands than the few terrors that lie within these walls. He has Quinn sealed within his vile Workshop. I overheard a band of Orcs talking about a lever that will bring down the guarded Workshop doors. Unfortunately it is guarded by a Rage Drake deep within the dungeon. Alas, my brother Arjan went in search of the lever but he has not returned. I fear the worst has befallen him. Will you join me in searching for Arjan and the lever?"

Tactics: After unlocking the Vault, time tokens get flipped after every 3rd Hero phase. Quinn is running out of time!

Note: Heskan's door-opening ability has no effect. Instead, Heskan may explore a tile one tile away from him. If he does, flip over the monster token on the tile.

Choice: Kat joins Heskan in search of Arjan and Quinn:
"It would be wise of we split up. I will go in search of the lever and hopefully find my brother Arjan as well while you try and locate the sealed Workshop. Quinn will need all the help he can find once I bring those doors down. Take these Dimensional Shackles along with you. There is a mad teleporting Hag on the prowl and I daresay these will come in handy."
You will now play the remainder of this adventure solo 'two-handed'. Kat gains +2 hit points, 1 treasure card and activates after Heskan and the normal mode of play resumes.

Choice: 'Leave her fate to chance':
"Quests and fate carry less weight than gold and jewels for me! No, Heskan, I came here not to parley with wizards and mages over good and evil. I'm just here to loot this dungeon and buy myself a lodging far away from war and monsters!"
Roll a D20:
  • 1-5: Kat escapes the dungeon but is ambushed by thieving goblins as she exits. Discard all her treasure cards. Remove Kat from the game.
  • 6-10: Kat escapes the dungeon with 2 treasures. Draw 2 treasure cards and add it to Kat's inventory. Remove Kat from the game.
  • 11-15: Kat is captured by monsters! Place her on the tile that is furthest from the vault with no unexplored edges. Then, place the Howling Hag figure on that tile. The Hag will continuously attack Kat unless a token causes her to teleport (see Hag's rules above). Players can attempt to rescue Kat if he they wish. Kat is 'rescued' if Heskan ends his hero phase on her tile. Remove Kat from the game and gain 2 treasure cards.
  • 16-20: Kat has a change of heart and decides to assist Heskan. Give her +2 HP and 1 treasure card. She then heads off to find Quinn.

The Villains in the Dungeons of Nerath
When You Find Arjan, Read:
"Blast! This dratted Drake refuses to move from its spot. Quickly Brother, cast a diversion to distract this brute so we may get to the lever and rescue our Cleric friend!"
Place Heskan on the Arcane Circle and flip over a treasure card (or a daily or utility power) from Heskan's inventory. The sound of gold coins has distracted the Drake! Move the Drake 2 tiles away from the Arcane Circle in any direction. Then, flip over the lever. (If there are no treasure or power cards to flip over Heskan will need to slay the Drake in order to access the lever).

When You Flip Over The Lever, Read:
Using the dimensional magic from the Arcane Circle Heskan creates a portal that will allow a single Hero to teleport right outside the Workshop entrance."Quickly, Arjan, step into the portal! Quinn will have need of your axe in besting that nefarious sorcerer."

Things got messy fast - a 3 Monster flip-over!
Remove the door and time tokens from the Workshop. Quinn is free but badly injured (his starting HP is 6). Weak and drained from his ordeal, Quinn ONLY has his 2 At-Will powers at his disposal. (Note: The reasoning behind this is somewhat obvious - If we gave Quinn his Blade Barriers, he would make quick work of Klak, thereby rendering the last Act of the adventure pointless)

"Curses! This vile sorcery has taken its toll on me! I fear that should Klak escape, he will pass on what little he could learn from his vile tinkering of my mind. We should stop him, lest he passes on further knowledge of the Shimmer and the Everlast to his dark masters!"

Place the 5 additional dungeon tiles in a stack next to the Workshop. Then place the secret stairway at the bottom of the stack. At the end of the villain phase, draw a tile from the top of the stack and add it to any adjacent edge of the workshop tile or a tile connected to the workshop with an unexplored edge. Then place Klak on this tile.

At the start of the next Hero phase, you take control of Quinn and try to defeat Klak, the Kobold Sorceror before he escapes. Place Arjan just on any tile adjacent to the Workshop tile. Arjan activates immediately after Quinn. If Klak is destroyed the heroes win the game. Note: If you chose to keep Kat and she made it to the Workshop in time, you may play Kat after Arjan and she may assist the Heroes in defeating Klak. If Klak reaches the Secret Stairway tile, the heroes lose the game. Klak has escaped!

Bonus: Heskan may go on to attempt to defeat the Rage Drake. If he does, he gains 2 additional treasure cards.

This Adventure uses all of these D&D Games
Pre-built Dungeons Setup:
(Uses rules similar to the pre-built Cavern Complex in Drizzt)
  1. Start tile as indicated by the adventure.
  2. Dungeon tile stack shuffled and setup as indicated by the adventure,
  3. Cavern Edge Tiles (when indicated).
  4. Place the start tile on the table. Add one new dungeon tile next to each unexplored edge of the start tile.
  5. Then place one new tile next to each unexplored edge of the tiles you previously placed.
  6. Continue to add dungeons tiles to unexplored tile edges. In most of the Ruin Of Nimbar adventures you would have a total of 20 dungeon tiles (excluding the start tile) laid out.
  7. If you encounter long hallway tiles, immediately place a new tile adjacent to its unexplored edge if possible.
  8. If you encounter tiles with doors, shuffle and add a door marker. Tiles with door edges count as unexplored edges. You may place tiles on the 'other' side of the doors.
  9. If you encounter named tiles, place them according to the adventure. For example, Adventure 1: The Dungeons of Nerath uses a pre-built 20 tiled dungeon with the Vault, Arcane Circle and Workshop named tiles. These are shuffled in to the dungeon tile after the 3rd, 8th and 14th tile and are laid out in the same manner as a normal dungeon tile.
  10. If the adventure calls for a pre-built chamber complex, all the chamber tiles (Horrid Chamber, Dire Chamber or Ravenloft crypts) get built into the dungeon. Chambers may only be entered by a single entrance and exit, unless indicated otherwise. Do not place normal dungeons tiles around chamber tiles, apart from the chamber entrance tiles.